If you weren’t a fan of the incessant Carlos Correa rumors last winter, I have very bad news for you. Last time around, you were largely spared months of speculation due to the lockout. This winter, though, the Chicago Cubs are going to be linked to the superstar shortstop right up until the day he either comes to the North Side or signs elsewhere.
Get ready for more endless Carlos Correa speculation, Cubs fans
Already, that speculation has begun, with a handful of folks in the know when it comes to the Twins (Correa’s current team) connecting the two-time All-Star to Jed Hoyer’s club.
With the Cubs, at least in my mind, in the driver’s seat when it comes to this winter’s loaded class of free agent shortstops, this is music to my ears. That’s not to say Correa will be the team’s choice when it comes down to it, but hearing speculation outside Chicago linking the Cubs to an elite free agent-to-be is a welcome change of pace after the last couple seasons.
If you don’t want to take the half-hour or so to listen to the above podcast in its entirety, that’s fine. I did it for you – and here’s what was said about Correa and Chicago:
"“He’s gonna still want at least $35 million a year for X amount of years on a long-term deal. I’m not sure he’s going to get it. But it only takes one idiotic owner to agree, and I’m worried that owner has already presented himself. And that’s Tom Ricketts of the Chicago Cubs, who has pledged to spend money this offseason, and they were interested in Correa in the past. So I’m wondering about a Correa to Cubs deal as a way ownership shows the Cubs fan base they are ready to be a contender again, and that means they would sign him to a ten-year deal at a ridiculous amount of money. That’s the only team I can think that would probably bite on that.”"
Correa, who literally just turned 28 in the last week, at least on paper, is a perfect fit for the Cubs. Chicago desperately needs some offensive firepower (not to mention star power) – and at this age, a long-term deal should, at least in theory, be doable without totally handicapping the franchise in the back half.
Keep in mind. If, like Neal suggested on the podcast, Correa actually manages to pull in a deal with that $35 million AAV, it would be an unprecedented move for the Cubs, whose largest free agent contract in franchise history is still on the books (Jason Heyward’s eight-year, $184 million deal).
Correa has only gained steam as the year has gone on and is up to a .289/.365/.468 line and 5.0 bWAR in 128 games. The question is whether or not anyone will pony up that $35 million a year he’s rumored to be seeking again. After all, he’s going to wind up shy of the MVP-caliber performance he had heading into free agency in 2021 – and he didn’t exactly get that record deal he was looking for that time around, did he?
Despite the fact the team is paying the last year of Heyward’s deal while setting him out to pasture, there is a ton of money to spend, should the front office and ownership so choose. Will the bad taste from the Heyward disaster linger and make the Cubs more wary of backing up the Brinks truck? I doubt it. If the right fit is out there and Tom Ricketts and Hoyer align, a Correa-level signing is totally in the cards.